Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson

Ep #8 Why My Headshots Won't Suck

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep #8 Why My Headshots Won't Suck
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A headshot is a picture of your head and Episode #8 takes a look at what is going on inside of it on a big shoot day.  From hair & make up to mind set.  From backdrops & wardrobe to wide angle distortion.  We get to the bottom of why the getting great headshots can be challenging, and you’ll learn how to make your next shoot the best day of your life.  If you’re not careful… This episode might turn you into someone who loves being photographed. 

Show Notes:

Quick Links:

Bobby Dacones (Commercial Shots): https://www.instagram.com/bobby11dacones/?hl=en

Taylor James (Editorial Shots): https://www.instagram.com/taylorjjames/?hl=en

Gia Harris (Makeup Artist): https://www.instagram.com/missgiamakeup/?hl=en

Retouching: www.digitalheadshotretouching.com
digitalheadshotretouching@gmail.com

Printing: www.photocitylabs.com photo-city@sbcglobal.net

Pink Hair Dye: https://us.kryolan.com/product/color-spray#D30

Favorite Red Lipstick: https://www.sephora.com/product/cream-lip-stain-liquid-lipstick-P281411?icid2=products%20grid:p281411

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you're someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight. But don't stop moving because you're in the right place.  

Dana: Good day. Good people. How are you out there? I hope this podcast finds you fabulous on this lovely day or night. I don't know what it is for you right now. I do know that it is morning time for me and this is kind of an impromptu podcast. Today is headshots day. I am getting two different rounds of head shots taken in one day. In the early afternoon. I'm going for the commercial stuff, the clean, fresh, super cute. "Let me sell you things", head shots. And then in the afternoon I'm getting my super artsy fartsy editorial. "I'm an artist with creative ideas" headshots, and those really are two very different things. Um, and I'm excited. I'm excited about both of them, but I did wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. So I did a little journaling and started digging up what I thought could be a really cool podcast episode, a look inside my head on headshots day. So you'll be able to see what my head looks like on the outside as well as what's going on in here today. So, uh, if you don't mind, I'm going to get right into it since I am on a bit of a sscheduley.  

Okay. The inner dialogue that happens on the morning of headshot day is not so dissimilar from the dialogue that happens on any big shoot day. So if you don't have headshots on the books coming up, don't discount this episode. There's a lot of big lesson in here and I hope you get big value out of it. Okay, let's start at the beginning. This morning I woke up to kisses, which is incredible. But also I did say that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So you might be wondering how is that possible? Well, let me explain. Number one, I wanted to stay asleep. This is something that I blame actually on my very, very comfortable bed. I have the best bed ever. You might think that yours is better, but mine is better. I really, I've actually considered trying to increase productivity by swapping out my awesome mattress and sheets and pillows for something different, but that would never fly.  I really, really love my bed. I have these bamboo hypo allergen pillows. They're the best and all of it. It's great. So anyways, I got out of bed eventually. Then I saw how puffy my hands were and that reminded me of the bad choice I made last night when I had so much of that soup that I knew it was a little too salty. I was like, I'm going to be puffy tomorrow. Sure enough, fingers, super puffy. My rings were like, eh, not moving. And then I saw that my morning belly was not. Its typical morning belly smallness, you know that. Don't you wake up sometimes you look at yourself, you're like, man, I look really good right now. I want to look like that all day long and literally like you might not even drink water, but in the next hour or so you just don't look. I don't know. There's something about the morning body, so I was bummed by the puffy fingers. I was bummed by the puffy body and then I got in the shower and my husband asked if I tweezed my eyebrows. He said they look smaller. He did not say they look bad or Whoa, you really messed up there. He really said no. He just said they look smaller, but in my head I heard they look awful. You look crazy. You're really getting head shots today. And then I went into the landscaping mode where for the next 15 minutes from pits to legs to "vathighna", which is the place.. Some people call it the bikini area, but let's be honest, it's the place between your vagina and your thigh. It's the vagthina and on my landscaping journey, all I can do is think about those perfect hairless bodied models that I see headshots of all the time. And then I came here to my computer where I started to do a little download. A thought download by the way is where I just spew out thoughts, stream of consciousness at my computer and then I work on managing those thoughts.  

Okay. We're going to get into my thoughts in a second, but first let's take a quick moment to talk about the facts. Okay. The facts about headshots are this. Head shots are pictures of you, your top half usually, but sometimes your whole body, they land on your website or on your agent's website. They land on casting networks, which is sort of a casting directory. In other words, online casting networks are where casting directors and clients will go to look at the talent pool to decide who they want to see audition and ultimately who they will cast for their projects. I'm going to do a full blown deep dive on casting networks another day. We're going to talk all of them backstage, breakdown services, actors access, casting frontier, casting networks inc, we're going to do it, but not today. Casting networks are not a happy place for me and we're going to keep headshot day a happy place kind of day. A few other facts about your head shots. They will likely wind up a two inch thumbnail on somebody's computer or phone. They also may get printed. It is really good practice to have printed head shots. By the way, maybe that's my thought. That might not be a fact. Although since the digital revolution hard-copy headshots are becoming less frequently asked for when you audition, it is good practice to have them. Okay, here's some more thoughts about headshots and I did a quick Google search, so these are other people's thoughts, not my own. Here we go. Oh, this is a good one. If your head shots don't work, you won't work. A good headshot is essential to getting work. A headshot is your most valuable asset.  People also say things like, go pro, spend the money. I did get a good quote. That seems true to the price range that I've experienced. That good headshots range from 400 to $1,200 yeah, that's about right. Oh, here we go. These are fun. A headshot has to show uniqueness and warmth. It's important to show variety, but don't be confusing. Your look should be different but unified. Okay? That's not confusing at all. Um, or these, these good old fashion rules. Don't wear white. Don't wear graphics. Don't use too many props. Don't do anything that'll distract from your face. Okay, good. Thanks for your thoughts everybody. Okay. This morning when I did my download, here are a couple of thoughts that I couldn't shake. I shouldn't have had that soup last night. My body isn't what it could be right now. It doesn't look like it's going to be a good hair day.  Totally honest. Those are my thoughts. All right. Now my thoughts mixed with all the other thoughts that I found on the internet today landed me thinking this is the one opportunity I'll get in the next year to show the world who I am and get me all the jobs. Now that thought landed me feeling pretty stressed out and feeling stressed makes me overeat, over drink, It makes me really try to muscle certain things into place and make last minute changes that are kind of frantic. For example, tweezing my eyebrows at 11 o'clock last night. I don't relax, I don't have fun, and it's all over my face. Those actions land me at a result of not so stellar headshots.

So with a little thought management, a little, a little grooming, this is where my thoughts have landed. Now today I get to play, dress up and make things that have never existed before.  This very, very moment with my friends. Okay? Now I know I'm lucky in that regard. My dear friend Gia will be doing my makeup today. My good friend, Bobby's going to shoot my commercial looks and then my friend Taylor is going to be doing my abstract, artsy, fartsy fun stuff. These are people that I dig. These are people that I respect and I get to hang out with them for hours on end today and I get to dress up. Boom. This makes me feel excited. And when I'm excited, tasks like doing my hair, doing my makeup, eating well, they all come with a smile. I don't rush other people or myself. In general, things flow and that flow state happy action lands me at a result of having a great day playing dress up with my friends and having photos that prove it. Okay. Now you may be thinking, all right, positive Patty, you just, you can't like actually just change your mind from being stressed out about this very important thing to being really, really excited and fun.  Well, I would argue that it's actually impossible to hold the thought. I am so excited to play, dress up and make stuff with my friends at the same time as you hold the thought curse my fair skin and dark Mediterranean hair. I don't think you can think those things at the same time. I really think you have to choose one, so I'm going to choose to stop worrying about silly physical things and focus on the thoughts that I actually want to hold. Okay. Here are a few more that I'm going to hold onto today. That soup last night was other worldly that was so good and I'm so glad I experienced it. Next time I get head shots done though, that probably won't be my move. Oh. And also I have never, ever not once been casting for a project where everyone in the room thought, man, that girl would be perfect, but her fingers are just a little too puffy. Simply never happened to me before. Also. How about this? I woke up to kisses today. It is gonna be a fabulous day. I'm excited to make stuff with my friends. I'm excited to play, dress up and I'm excited to tell you how it went. So don't leave. Um, I'm going to leave. I'm going to go have a whole day, but you don't, you're going to have about three seconds of a musical interlude and I'll be right back to tell you how it went today.  

Hey guys, I'm back. It's like time travel I really like this one day, two recording sessions thing. That was very, very fun. Whoa, what a fun day. It was really exciting. I genuinely felt excited almost all day. Um, and wow, being excited is very energizing. I was excited up until 7:00 PM when I ate my first legitimate meal of the day, which was a beyond burger and it was delicious and then I continued to be excited even while I was washing the temporary pink hair dye out of my hair at 10:00 PM and I am going to sleep like a baby. All right. These are some of the things that came up to me that I thought were worth mentioning today.  

First off, your tribe is your vibe. The people that you have around you on big days like this make all the difference and I was so lucky to have some of my favorite people around today. Firstly, my makeup artist, Gia Harris, longtime friend, who I'll talk a little bit more about later, did an awesome job and on the subject of makeup, my mom calls putting makeup on gilding the Lily, but when you're getting professional photos taken, having great makeup is part of this complete breakfast. You really actually need it and you need it to be great. You need it to be natural. You needed to be well maintained throughout the day and yeah, you might as well enjoy the process. I always enjoy the process with Gia. At one point I even remember, maybe it's about as high stress as it got was when we were trying to find the perfect red lipstick for my sophisticated, sexy look in the second half of the commercial headshot shoot. Gia is a woman that understands red lipstick intimately. In fact, she introduced me to my favorite red, which is actually Sephora number one. Just for the record, we did not use Sephora number one for this shoot. However, we explored a little bit and we found something incredible and I don't know what it was, so I can't tell you. Gia and only Gia knows. Alright, Gia knows reds and she knows my face. If you're shooting with a makeup artist that you've never used before, I strongly recommend paying them for a test day so that you're sure you can land on looks that you love before the big day. For the record, I feel the same way about hairstylists crucial. Now, today I did not have a hairstylist. I was manning my own mop and I think I did a pretty good job for the record. See, I have kind of unusual hair, but I know how to work it.  It's one of those things that if I can't get the stylist that I know I love, I'm not going to take a risk on somebody that I don't know. I'm going to do what I do and I'm going to do it well. Today was no exception. I'm patting myself on the back. I did pretty good, especially in the first half of the day. The second half of the day took a turn. It got a little playful. See, Taylor James has been wanting to shoot me with pink hair for a very long time. He's been trying to convince me to go pink ever since I went blonde. So I gave in because Taylor puts the Tay in taste. He's really so great. So I did a little research and I talked to a couple of real live humans instead of just trusting the internet. This is my hair after all, and I decided on Kryolan color spray in D 30 it's this lovely, powdery pink.  I almost went for the more neon pink, kind of like what you might've seen in the yummy video. Shout out. Yummy, and I heard horror stories about how that stuff stained those girls hair, especially with light hair, a dark temporary hair dye can actually do some real permanent type of damage. So I went with D30 this powder pink and I just crossed up my fingers. Lucky for me, it not only washed out, but it looked fabulous. A word of wisdom. I would advise that you settle on the style first and add the color later. It was really difficult to style my hair after that spray was in there. It's like kind of chalky and powdery and tough. It was impossible to brush through and I'm not crazy about the shape of my hair after the color went in, but Holy smokes color so great. Really happy about that. I think actually we're going to go round two on pink hair shoot. LOVE. Who knows? Maybe I'll even commit full time some other day.  

Okay, so that covers face. That covers hair. Now, next and maybe most important, let's talk wardrobe. I am a person who loves clothes. I love many different styles. I love many different periods of fashion. I love texture, I love color, I love crazy, but headshot wardrobe is not the same as daily wardrobe and editorial wardrobe is certainly different than daily wardrobe. So how do you settle on your look? Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, there really is no one rule of what to wear. Brunette shouldn't always wear red. Blondes shouldn't always wear blue. This is just something you're going to have to find for yourself. My best recommendation here would be try everything, take a lot of photos and start keeping little photo albums of your little favorite things, the things that work for you. Before I even set my date to shoot and before I locked in my photographers, I sent my agents and a small group of friends and family like nine or 10 different looks and I asked for input and feedback. What do you guys think I should wear for my head shots? I'm always surprised by the way, what I hear back when I send out little calls to action like that because it's almost never what I would have chosen. Over the course of this week. I'll share a few of those sample shots that I sent to my agent so that you can see what I thought would work and what actually wound up working. Actually throughout the course of this week, I'll do a lot of behind the scenes of today. I've got a lot of great captures. Stay tuned on the gram @WordsthatMoveMePodcast, get ready. So on this round of preliminary wardrobe sausage. I heard back from my agent first and she recommended a few looks that I didn't really love, but once I tried them on in front of a backdrop on camera, I was smitten.  So I shot in two looks that really weren't my favorite, but on camera they look great. As far as the golden rule here, I would say do your homework. Not only did I send my agents a boatload of options, I also asked them to send me the headshots of their clients that never get a no. These are headshots that when submitted the casting director says yes, we want to see that person. From those I learned solid backgrounds are best, vivid colors are a must, skin must look natural and great. And red seemed to be an overwhelming theme. So based on the looks that I submitted and based on what my agency sent me back, I settled on a couple different wardrobe options and then chose backdrop colors and textures that I thought complimented them the best. And that's the game.  

Okay. The day went fast and that is to be expected. But I never felt actually rushed. I was, it felt more like I was just in a fast car that was going fast, but I didn't feel like I was having to run or pull or drive. It was just a quick moving day. But I took time to look at my friends and smile and love them and I took time to look at the images. Oh yes. That was advanced to take a moment, pause, say, okay, let's look at what we've got so far before you say, all right, moving on. Next. Look, every photographer is different when it comes to showing the model or the director the captures as they shoot. Sometimes it can make the model get a little bit too in their head. So even though the goal is to establish a strong trust and healthy working relationship, it can wind up having the inverse effect.  But I love seeing as I shoot it helps me correct. I'm a dancer, love corrections. Um, it helps me correct and it helps me feel like we can move on if at a certain point it's time to move on, you know, as far as the clock is concerned. So that's one of the reasons I really like shooting with my friends is that that conversation can be really loose and open. Hey, can I take a look at that? Hey, do you mind if I see that, Hey, can I take a look at that? I feel like we might have it. Can we move on? Of course. I feel more comfortable having that conversation with my friends, but, but I really encourage anybody who's paying for headshots to take a look at some of what they got before you change outfits to the next look and certainly before you leave for the day.  

At one point I actually noticed as I looked at the monitor, a little, um, body insecurity cropping up where I was like, ah man, my torso is so short and my head is gigantic. Wait is my head really that big. Uh, that might actually be the lens. Hey Bobby, what are you shooting on right now? Sure enough, it was kind of a wide lens. We're in a small space so I understand that choice. But I asked Bobby to use a different lens cause I noticed like the slightest kind of warping in my body. Um, and because Bobby is awesome, he was like, yes, absolutely right away, but I wouldn't have known to ask that necessarily if I hadn't gotten so comfortable with seeing myself on camera at number one. And number two, um, getting used to what certain lenses do to the body. So that was cool.   Um, also cool. I came across my first professional headshots ever. So these must have been taken in 2005, like early 2005. Um, yes I did laugh at them and yes I did ask what were you thinking? And I sit in kind of a mean way at the moment, but after a little bit more digging on the, what were you thinking? Question. I really believe that I was thinking do it right. Just be the right thing. Just do this right. And I'm actually very proud of that. My efforts to do the right thing or to at least not be wrong, were not for nothing. My pursuit of right got me very far. It got me here. Here is well connected, supported, inspired. Here's a place where I have the perspective to think of headshots as an opportunity to play and make versus the do or die moment where my livelihood is on the line.  So thanks past self for really trying to do it right and trying to be right. However, I've got to say the girl in those photos does not look like she's having fun. So while the thought I'm going to do it right, I'm going to be right, might've served me well in the career in the long run today instead of thinking do it right, be right, I was thinking do it bright and be yourself. Just be yourself. It was also nice to remember that head shots are just pixels on a screen or ink on a piece of paper. That brought me comfort to knowing that I am much more than pixels. I am much more than ink and when I believe that the camera seems to capture that. I was also very comforted by the thought that these don't have to be the best headshots ever taken ever by man or woman or space alien.  These are just the head shots that I am taking today with this color hair in this body in this moment and that felt really, really good. So maybe someday I'll look back and laugh at these two and that's okay. But until that moment I'll be very proud and I'll celebrate that.

This was an awesome day where I got to dress up and make stuff with my friends for I might add less than a thousand dollars. I shot five looks in three locations in six hours and I could absolutely not have done that without a killer team. Top of that list of course is the man that woke me up with kisses. Next step is the one and only Gia Harris who did my makeup on this series of head shots and maybe every single other in my life at least in the last 10 years. Right. Gia man, she is my dear friend.  She is a Saint. She was the first to arrive and she was the last to go home and she did a phenomenal job. Then of course there is mr Bobby Dancones, the sweet and Swift photographer. I have almost all of my files from him already. Holy smokes. Thank you Bobby. And then of course Mr. Taylor James. He has a great eye and incredible imagination and more prom dresses than any woman that I know. He is a master behind and in front of the camera. And I would also say he is a monster behind the wheel of a Prius. Thanks Taylor James!

Well, there you have it guys. A look inside my head on headshot day, I felt beautiful. I felt powerful. I felt silly. I felt sexy. I was excited literally all day long.  And I hope that you feel all of those things today and one sure fire way of feeling that is to think you get to go play, dress up and make stuff with your friends almost anytime. Literally. So go get out there, do it. And while you're at it, keep it funky. Hey, sneak attack with the tagline. Thank you everybody for listening. I'll talk to you next week. I literally just waved at my microphone. Great. Okay. Bye. 


Brought to you by Dana Wilson of Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson